Industry Eye: Case Study - Sea Bear
Problem: SeaBear, a direct seller of smoked salmon and other specialty seafood, sought to upgrade its outdated e-commerce site to jump-start online sales.
Solution: Completely redesigned its site.
Results: Web-placed sales have nearly doubled compared to the old site, representing 40 percent of the company’s overall sales. Throughout its 52-year history, Anacortes, Wash.-based SeaBear has forged lengthy relationships with customers. Nevertheless, a few years ago the company realized it couldn’t stand still and expect to remain relevant. Already a successful catalog marketer, SeaBear knew greater growth potential lay online.
In contrast to its print catalog, which prides itself on a cutting-edge design, SeaBear’s Web site launched in 1999 and started to smell like day-old fish. It was marred by inconsistency from one channel to the next, poor “shopability” and a feeling of brand anonymity.
“The branding consistency was a disconnect,” says Mike Mondello, SeaBear’s president/CEO. “For someone to go from our catalog to our Web site, it didn’t feel like the same brand. We were losing the ability to build on our brand strength by having people shop in multiple channels. In fact, it was going the other direction.”
To reverse the trend, SeaBear hired Tellus, a Web solutions and strategy firm, to redesign its site. The site relaunched in October 2006, in time for the holiday season, and its numbers mostly have trended upward since.
Central to the redesign was SeaBear’s desire to enhance visitors’ shopping experiences. The old site was plagued by poor navigation and architecture. Customers found it particularly difficult to locate products. This led to small average order values (AOV) and few cross-sells or multi-item purchases.
“Some of the very basic things people would need to successfully browse, find the right items and purchase products, were challenges for most users,” recalls Betsy Emery, CEO/founder of Tellus. “So we created a site that would help those who knew the items they wanted find them quickly. We also sought to help those who didn’t come with specific products in mind quickly identify the items that were right for them and make